Scientist warn COVID variants likely to cause third wave starting in late February

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Lambton Public Health is reporting five new cases of COVID-19 Friday as Ontario public health scientists warn the variants to the virus could cause another wave of illness in the next few weeks.

Statistics released today show Lambton has now had 1,909 cases since the pandemic today. There are 61 people ill with COVID-19, but Bluewater Health’s COVID unit is empty today.

One of the workplace outbreaks has been cleared. There are eight outbreaks in all including one at the Sarnia Jail where there are 16 people who tested positive.

For the second day in a row, the province says today’s data is skewed because Toronto Public Health is transferring its data to the provincial system.

There were 1,076 people who tested positive for COVID-19. Eighteen people died with the virus.

Dr. Adalsteinn Brown from the University of Toronto and co-chair of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table said the Stay at Home order was paying off with lower case counts and fewer deaths in long term care now.

But he had a warning, the variants of COVID-19 are likely to create a third wave of disease. He told reporters Thursday the number of cases is likely to grow again later this month and the number of people in hospital will also start to increase.

Brown says the variants could see cases rise above 1,500 per day even if the reproductive rate is around 0.9 – slightly higher than we are at now.

And he says if public health measures are lifted, and the variant becomes dominant, the number of cases could rise between around 4,000 and 17,000.